No joke: Snow hits northern New England on April Fools’ Day

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — It’s April Fools’ Day but it’s no joke: People across northern New England woke up to a foot of heavy, wet snow on parts of the region Saturday and more is expected throughout the day.

The storm caused power outages and numerous highway accidents. About 11,600 electricity customers across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine were in the dark by late morning. A winter storm warning was in effect for much of the region through the afternoon.

“This is Mother Nature’s idea of an April Fools’ joke,” said meteorologist Eric Schwibs of the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

But he said that while it’s disheartening to see snow so late in the season, it’s not unusual. Winter had already brought more snow than normal to northern New England. Portland, Maine, recorded 84.4 inches of snow, 2 feet above normal for the city; Concord, New Hampshire, had 73.8 inches, about 15 inches above normal.

Saturday, snow-related crashes were reported on the Maine Turnpike and, in New Hampshire, a loaded tractor-trailer rolled over on Interstate 95 in Hampton, blocking three lanes. The 34-year-old driver, a resident of Chelsea, Massachusetts, was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

In Vermont, the state’s largest electric utility, Green Mountain Power, had more than 21,000 customers back on line after they had lost power overnight. About 5,000 remained without service.

Kristin Carlson, a vice president for the utility, urged caution.

“People should stay away from down lines, as they may be live and dangerous, and be aware that downed trees could have power lines tangled in them and may also be unsafe,” she said.

The late-season snow will further impact town budgets already under pressure from winter-related expenses. Before the storm, Bangor, Maine, was $150,000 over budget for snow removal and Portland was $270,000 over budget. Towns elsewhere in the region had similar stories.

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Associated Press writer David Sharp in Portland, Maine, contributed to this story.

 

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